THE LEGEND’S HOCKEY LEAGUE NEWS
(Las Vegas, NV) Big Tony’s Casino in Las Vegas released their pre-season odds for the 1979-80 LHL Legend’s Cup Championship today. Big Tony’s, which is a controlling partner in the Long Island Sports group that owns the Long Island Ducks, listed the 3-time champions as the favorite again this year at 3:1. Last year’s champs, the Terriers, are right behind at 4:1. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the posting of the Cleveland Cobras as a 60:1 longshot after a very strong 1978-79 campaign that earned them a playoff berth. This reporter is tempted to put a few bucks down on the “snakes”.
Big Tony’s complete list:
LEGENDS HOCKEY LEAGUE
1979-1980 ENTRY DRAFT PREVIEW
By Bill Corfield/General Manager-Dayton Musicmen
…Here’s a look at the upcoming entry draft. We’ll take a team by team look at needs and what players might be on the radar for each in the first round.
1) Calgary Cowboys- With the first overall pick, the expansion Cowboys are in a terrific position to draft not just a great player but a legend. Anyone of no less than four different players could go here and be the right choice. Does Calgary opt for defense? If so, is Ray Bourque or Slava Fetisov the chosen one? Or, maybe its offense in which case Igor Larionov would be an amazing piece with which to build around for the next 20 years or so. The other option would be to go for a goaltender, which brings us to Vladislav Tretiak. His first year isn’t that outstanding, but in years two through six, he’s money. By far the shortest career of the top four, he is a darkhorse who merits mention. What kind of king’s ransom would many of us pay for his 2nd through 6th years, especially those teams poised to contend for a run at the Cup? Turn one first rounder into several down the road? Don’t be surprised if it happens.
Predicted selection: Ray Bourque-D
Darkhorse selection: Vladislav Tretiak-G
2) Wellwood Wolverines- The other LHL expansion team this season, the Wolverines also enjoy a highly attractive draft slot. With no perceptible team strength yet, any of the players mentioned above would all be strong building blocks. But…rumours are swirling around the LHL front offices that the Welland scouts may be prepared to make the first surprise pick in the upcoming draft. Who might that surprise be? Will the Wolverines fall back and make a “safe” pick? We’ll know in a few weeks time…
Predicted selection: Slava Fetisov-D
Darkhorse selection: Igor Larionov-C
3) California Golden Seals- Yet another can’t miss slot to pick for the newly re-located Seals. A squad that already boasts such offensive forces including Goulet, Stoughton, Perreault, Kehoe, McKegney etc., our crystal ball says defense is usually the way to go, but not necessarily a blueliner, perhaps? If both Bourque and Fetisov are gone, all bets are off. A team like the Seals need help at the pivot position and who better than Igor Larionov to center the top line for California for the next 15 years or so? Still worth noting, if Tretiak is still on the board, anything is possible.
Predicted selection: Igor Larionov-C
Darkhorse selection: Vladislav Tretiak-G
4) Grand Valley Saints- Things should be pretty interesting by now…Two legendary Dmen and a Hall of Famer centerman are probably gone. So, who do the Saints go after? Greatness is still available for sure. We’d think a forward would be the best choice, but its hard to pass up a high quality defenseman such as Alexei Kasatonov. Kasatonov or Rob Ramage could be the next name called or perhaps Grand Valley opts to round out their top scoring line with the likes of another Russkie. Makarov, Krutov or possibly Kharlamov gets drafted in this spot. The Tretiak puzzle still may be unsolved, don’t forget.
Predicted selection: Alexei Kasatonov-D
Darkhorse selection: Victor Krutov-LW
5) Seoul Squid- Nice core group in the Land of the Rising Sun, so flexibility exists here. A bit thin at the center position, if Larionov is gone, the Squid might look long and hard at players like Laurie Boschman or Dave Christian. A defenseman is also a possibility here…same names as Grand Valley to be considered, we believe. Kasatonov, Ramage or Morrow would all bolster Seoul’s blueline. There is a feeling among LHL scouts that the Squid decision makers would like to reunite Morrow with Chico Resch for chemistry reasons. A forward such as Krutov or Makarov is also a consideration with this pick.
Predicted selection: Laurie Boschman -C
Darkhorse selection: Ken Morrow-D
6) Dayton Musicmen- A team who has struggled mightily the last few years may be on the verge of a significant improvement in the LHL power rankings. Holders of a league high three first rounders, the Musicmen are sure to improve their team with an already promising core group including Bernie Federko, Kent Nilsson, Bobby Smith and Randy Carlyle and Brad March on the blueline. With the number six pick, what does Dayton want? They need help on D and in goal, more than up front. Look for GM Corfield to make the safe pick and opt for the best blueliner left on the board. That said, if Tretiak is still around, Dayton has the luxury of 2 more first rounders to use, so if Vladdy hasn’t been taken yet, we don’t see the Musicmen passing on him.
Predicted selection: Rob Ramage-D
Darkhorse selection: Brad McCrimmon-D
7) Winnipeg Warriors- With a possible four defensemen already gone, we think “Wayne’s World” would like some new playmates, er…linemates for the budding superstar from last year’s draft. Top forwards still available look to include Krutov, Makarov and possibly Brian Propp. The forwards are lining up to skate with Gretzky and one of them should get his wish this draft position.
Predicted selection: Sergei Makarov -F
Darkhorse selection: John Ogrodnick-F
8) Montreal Maroons- A quick scan of the Maroons roster reveals a need for team defense, especially on the 3rd line. Several defensive minded possibilities would be Craig MacTavish, Mike Foligno, Keith Acton and Dale Hunter. Also, don’t forget the tough Sutter brothers who would help any team’s checking line.
Predicted selection: Craig MacTavish -C
Darkhorse selection: Mike Foligno-F
9) Wellend Wolverines- Second pick of the round for the expansion Wolverines. Defense with the first pick, let’s go with offense for the second pick. Who’s left? Viktor Krutov, Brian Propp and John Ogrodnick are probably the best of the rest. On the other hand, this year is slim on high caliber centers, so who knows…maybe they go that way. Another blueliner is a longshot, we feel.
Predicted selection: Viktor Krutov - F
Darkhorse selection: Dave Christian-C
10) Calgary Cowboys- The Cowboys second pick will also likely be of an offensive nature. Who ever is left from the Ogrodnick, Propp, Krutov, etc. group should invest in a pair of cowboy boots.
Predicted selection: Brian Propp -F
Darkhorse selection: Brett Ashton-F
11) Ottawa Dragons- Offense should continue to be taken with the 11th overall pick. The Dragons have a deep group of blueliners who will want more people to put the puck in the net. Foligno, Kharlamov, Ashton and possibly Bengt Gustaffsson may be the name we read next. On the other hand, don’t be surprised if a steller 3rd liner is snagged.
Predicted selection: Dave Hunter -F
Darkhorse selection: Valeri Kharlamov -F
12) Dayton Musicmen- Dayton returns for the second of three selections. Again, with the group of forwards in Musicland, look for blueliners to keep Travelocity busy with flights to Dayton International Airport.
Predicted selection: Kevin Lowe -D
Darkhorse selection: Mike Ramsey -D
13) Saskatoon Crescents- A nice group to add to with the 13th overall. We see the Crescents aiming for a defensive Dman with this pick. Craig Hartsburg, Ken Morrow, Mike Ramsey and Curt Giles all fit well on this up and coming roster. Possible 3rd liner instead…goaltender is a longshot.
Predicted selection: Craig Hartsburg -D
Darkhorse selection: Duane Sutter -F
14) Dayton Musicmen- The final of three first rounders, anything is possible here. Dayton needs defense but there is also an opportunity in goal as well. They can utilize a scorer and move Bob Bourne to the checking line. They could add yet another solid blueliner to the group including Brad Marsh, Randy Carlyle, Ed Kea and Dave Burrows. Who knows? Look for the Musicmen to take the best Dman unless a stud forward is still available. Don’t be surprised if they roll the dice and take a netminder, but we doubt it.
Predicted selection: Ken Morrow - D
Darkhorse selection: Paul Reinhart -D
15) Grand Valley Saints- Help on the 3rd line seems to be a good fit about now…We need someone tough, strong defensively and durable.
Predicted selection: Keith Acton -F
Darkhorse selection: Duane Sutter -F
16) Long Island Ducks- Probably at the point where the best player available is the route to be taken through the end of the first round.
Predicted selection: Anders Kallur -F
Darkhorse selection: Alain Cote –F/D
17) New England Terriers- We see a defensman heading to the champs.
Predicted selection: Mike Ramsey -D
Darkhorse selection: Gord Roberts -D
18) California Golden Seals- A defensive forward addition we believe to close out the first round.
Predicted selection: Darryl Sutter-F
Darkhorse selection: Lindy Ruff-D
(Editor’s Note: Good luck to all the teams in the upcoming entry draft. We highly doubt the actual draft will actually hit many of the above mentioned marks dead on, but perhaps a few may turn out to be right on.-BC)